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Question is as in the title: do property setbacks apply to basements? I'm leaning towards "probably not" because all the setbacks I can find specify things like "construction more than 18 inches above grade" and similar phrases.

I'm aware that this question will vary greatly by my HOA/city/county/state, but I haven't thus far managed to find anything that speaks to it specifically in my HOA or municipal codes, so anybody who can speak to it generally would be great.

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  • Basements usually mean/come with a building above. Think you are meaning more like an underground building, with nothing above ground. This could be a 'loop hole'/not considered part of set backs. Imagine if no damage/noise/unsightly looks done to neighbours, might get away with it, if done to codes/permits. Locals might change laws before you can build, after the idea stage.
    – crip659
    Sep 14 at 22:40
  • From what I read, if you have a HOA, they can be quite nasty with their regulations with little or no oversight, besides moving.
    – crip659
    Sep 14 at 22:54
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    Check with your local building inspector. They would likely need to sign off anyway Sep 14 at 23:11
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    If you specify your locale, someone here may already be familiar with it or have better search-fu and be able to find it for you. "Generally" is far to broad to be answered easily. Of course, you're on your own (and probably out of luck) if you have an HOA. If you or someone here can't find it, just call the local building dept and ask. I'm sure they'd rather tell you and dash your dreams up front than have to order you to undo something you may have spent 1,000s of dollars on.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 14 at 23:43
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    @FreeMan, I suspect your comment to just call the building department is the most correct answer, even if it's a framing challenge.
    – William
    2 days ago
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Simply put, the purpose of setbacks on the sides of a building is to ensure one building does not infringe on another building’s right to sunlight, ventilation, greenery and vehicular access.

For all sides, the setback is to protect entities such as water bodies located close to a building from being adversely affected by the construction and human inhabitation. And conceivably, make available the land required for utility access.

Without any of the above concerns, then I assume your basement is not a problem.

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  • Note that this is an assumption and that r13 makes no guarantee that it is correct! Any actions taken by the OP based on these assumptions is at his own risk! </lawyer mode>
    – FreeMan
    2 days ago

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